secondly, i know this is the big argument...it looks like you are keeping things pretty low key, helping people more on an individual level, and trying to get the community involved with its own restoration, which is GOOD. however, if things DO get better on a larger scale, property prices will go up and so will costs of living and taxes for the people who live there. that's how gentrification works...it's not about the intentions of the people who helped or outright ideas about white supremacy or any of that, it's just the sad way that things in the world work. i know you're saying you're not in there to gentrify it, but i'm wondering if you could help clarify a little more how you are planning to avoid that process.
To speak (for myself) on the concerns of the potential gentrification of Cairo, while I don't think it's a completely unwarranted thing to worry about that at some point, I would say, in light of the existing problems with the social and economic troubles of the city, it's not one of the more pressing problems, nor will it likely be for a number of years--if at all.
The analogy I'd make is that city of Cairo is like someone that's in the midst of a cardiac arrest. It's an event that is the natural outcome of years of unhealthy dietary practices, a bad cigarette habit, and a lack of exercise by this individual. We might look at this same person and come to the conclusion that they're also at risk for diabetes, and that may need to be addressed at the appropriate time, but the most pressing thing, at this point, is to just keep the person alive and to help stabilize their condition. Addressing the diabetes (or gentrification problem) is only relevant if the patient survives... which is still a highly uncertain outcome at this stage.
Chris has said as much as in his post that they don't really know how to get done what they want to do for Cairo, that they're just figuring it out as they go along as best as they can. Which, although maybe is a terribly naive thing to do, is still extremely brave and commendable. I've known Chris for a number of years now, and I've never seen him to take on big projects that didn't seem hopelessly naive to me at the outset. But then in those years of knowing him I've also never seen Chris fail at any of them--if only because of his own optimism and his ability to muster incredible support from his friends who know how to get shit done. What Cairo and what Chris, Adrienne, Zach, and Ken need are more people willing to lend a hand. Defeatist attitudes are counterproductive.
Longer term I'm not sure gentrification, in any significant sense, is going to be a problem there. There are two main reasons I believe this:
 Easily more than half of the available properties in the city are vacant, and it's probably more like two-thirds to three-fourths of them are vacant. At its peak, the city population was in excess of 15,000 people. Today less than 3000 people live there, so there's *a lot* of unoccupied housing. It would take many hundreds, and probably thousands, of people moving there to drive up property values to the point where the taxes would increase substantially for the existing residents. I don't see how this could happen in the foreseeable future.
 Gentrification, at least in all the instances I can think of, is a process that happens in low-income/working class areas that are in close proximity to economically prosperous ones. Over time, if the economic conditions support it, the adjacent areas with lower value property begin to be encroached upon or "settled" as demand for housing increases in the ranks of the well-off. This happens in large cities that have vibrant and growing economies (i.e. Chicago, Los Angeles, NYC, San Francisco -- but not someplace like say Detroit which is still in serious decline.) Cairo is more like Detroit than those other cities... except that it has the additional handicap of being in the middle of fucking nowhere. There are no jobs there, there are no prospects for any large number of new jobs to come, and there's nowhere prosperous enough nearby that people would migrate from to Cairo to get cheaper housing. The whole region is suffering badly. If anything, Cairo is a city from which people actively flee. The majority of the people living there are those who are too poor to be able to leave, or who are so old and have so much history there that they don't have the heart to leave.